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THE NEW GUARDIANS: DEADLY GENESIS, Young Adult Modern Fantasy - Luis Manuel Santiago III


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Introducing the birth of the main character of the book, two major supporting characters, one of the major settings, one of the main antagonists is mentioned, and introduces the foundation for one of the main conflicts for the book and series. 

Chapter One

 

New Pangea, an island nation residing in the North Atlantic, was the first sovereign state established on Earth following the Great Orb Wars. Located west of Ireland and south of Iceland, the country is roughly the size of Great Britain and Ireland combined. There are five provinces that divide the land--the Arncola Wilds in the North; Venmark to the west; Bentnigan to the south; Sudbury to the east; and at the center, Cancona—where the nation’s capital, Kingston, resides. At the heart of the city, the imposing structure of Castle Matheson rears tall, dominating the landscape. The venerable abode is centered on two-thousand acres surrounded by a wall of stone. The New Pangeans are governed by an absolute monarch, and Byron Matheson is the king. A benevolent ruler, he is beloved by the people.

 

Fifteen Years Ago: A velvety blanket of night descended on New Pangea’s capital--Kingston, Cancona. The lingering heat and humidity from a spent summer’s day had dwindled to a comfortable degree. A gentle breeze stirred the air, and stars burned in the firmament like celestial candles. Their soft, ethereal radiance completed the night’s portrait of warmth and intimacy. On the surface, all seemed well in Kingston; however, where the woman named Mei Ling was concerned, the serenity of the night’s embrace was a stark contrast to her current frame of mind.

            A native of Hong Kong, Mei Ling was her birthname, but her foes know her better as the Guardian codenamed Psi-Star. As the current Mental Guardian, she wields the most powerful mind on Earth.

            Prior to arriving in New Pangea, Psi-Star and her fellow Guardian, Alchemist, were closing in on a Shadowling they’d been hunting for years when they received word that Queen Helen was about to give birth. Alchemist stayed behind in Greece to continue their mission while Psi-Star left for New Pangea in case their suspicions about the coming prince were right. Before she left, she forged a psychic rapport with Alchemist to stay in contact. This permitted him to contact her instantly from anywhere on Earth through thought alone. She’d come outside to the courtyard at Castle Matheson to enjoy the beautiful night when she received his psychic call. The two Guardians were currently embroiled in an argument though separated by thousands of miles.

            “This was not our agreement, Alchemist,” Psi-Star argued, pacing around the courtyard irritably. “Invidia is far too dangerous to risk fighting alone.”

            “You are needed in New Pangea, Psi-Star,” Alchemist explained. “You cannot be here now.”

             “Within minutes of the new prince’s birth, I sensed the emergence of five Potential Guardians into the world. As a Guardian, you sensed their births, too. Queen Helen’s son is indeed one of them as suspected. Wait until I’ve concluded my business here so that I may join you. Then, we can face Invidia together,” Psi-Star petitioned.

            Whenever a Potential Guardian is born, all living Guardians can sense their birth. To confirm whether or not Helen’s child was a Potential Guardian, Psi-Star thought it best if she were present for the childbirth to sense if the boy’s emergence into the world timed perfectly with this feeling and if it happened within the time frame the other four births must come to pass. She had no idea who the other Potential Guardians were, but she and Alchemist felt each birth happen within minutes of each other.

            “There’s no guarantee that she’d still be here by the time you’d arrive,” Alchemist countered. “This one’s slippery. You know that. She must be confronted now.”

            Alchemist presented a strong argument. Invidia was the last of the Stygian King’s generals who remained free. If she were sealed into the Void, it might be enough to end his ambitions. This opportunity may also be their last chance to defeat Invidia before they lost their powers and the next generation of Guardians take up the mantle.

            “Where’s she headquartered?” Psi-Star asked.

            It was well within her power to probe her teammate’s memories to learn the answer for herself, but Psi-Star preferred leaving others the privacy of their thoughts whenever possible. It was proper telepathic etiquette.

            “She’s at her old stronghold in the Amazon from ancient times,” from ancient times,” Alchemist replied. “It’s been reconstructed. I’m inside now.”

            “Don’t, Alchemist. You’re thousands of miles away. I cannot engage Invidia in psychic combat from this distance and win.”

            “I’m aware of that, Psi-Star, but there’s no need for you to fight. I will take care of this.”

            Alchemist was headstrong. It was one of the things Psi-Star usually liked about him, but now wasn’t one of those times. She considered violating her teammate’s trust by taking control of his mind and forcing him to wait for her.

            Then she reconsidered.

            Alchemist wasn’t a telepath, but he possessed an iron-clad will at least the equal of her own. Also, as a result of his Guardian training, he’d been taught how to resist all manner of psychic attacks. The moment she tried to assert her will over his, he’d fight her. Under normal circumstances, Psi-Star’s strength of will bolstered by her psychic power would eventually prevail, but given the distance separating the two, she was unsure who’d triumph. He’d be furious with her for such transgressions are difficult to forgive. Alchemist had made up his mind to fight, and a struggle with his teammate would only exhaust him mentally before he faced Invidia.

            Fortunately, there were other weapons at her disposal. If Psi-Star couldn’t sway the Guardian called Alchemist, maybe Mei Ling could appeal to the man, Ramon Soltero.

            “We are betrothed, Ramon. It’s selfish of you to take this risk,” she sent.

            It was a low blow, and Ling knew it. As a Guardian, Ramon had a duty, and she was pitting his love for her against those responsibilities. If their roles were reversed, she knew she’d make the same choice he was making, but at the moment, she didn’t care.

            With this last plea, the Mental Guardian infused her thoughts with every ounce of emotion she felt for him. Touched by her feelings of love and devotion, Ramon replied, “I love you, too, Mei Ling. Don’t worry about me. I will not die this night. I will defeat Invidia and seal her in the Void. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be by your side, and soon we will marry.”

            He emphasized this declaration by opening his heart to her, giving her access to his own emotions. Ling’s psychic power allowed them to experience the depth of feelings they held for each other on a primal level beyond verbal expression. It was a touching moment that pierced their souls.   

            “I’ll look forward to seeing you again, Alchemist,” Psi-Star sent.

            “Oh, so now you have faith in me?” Alchemist teased.

            “You give me no choice,” she returned. “For now, I’ll reinforce your mental defenses with my telepathy to render your mind impenetrable to Invidia’s sorcery.”

            “Thank you, Psi-Star. That’s all I can ask for.”

            “Good luck.”

           

Guardians are long-lived human being gifted with extraordinary abilities far beyond those of ordinary mortals. Physically, Psi-Star appeared as a woman barely in her thirties; however, she’d celebrated her bicentennial this year. Standing at five-feet-four-inches, her well-toned figure was the result of several lifetimes worth of extensive physical training. She had long raven hair that cascaded freely to the center of her back and her ovular face was, in a word, beautiful. Tonight, she wore a comfortable teal-colored short-sleeved round-necked printed blouse, comfortable dark jeans, and a pair of black kung fu shoes.

            Psi-Star sat heavily in one of the outdoor sofas and massaged her temples. She said a quiet prayer and wished her teammate a decisive victory.

            Afterwards, her psychic senses picked up on a familiar mental signature approaching the courtyard. 

            Telepathy’s ability to act as a radar was only one of its many functions. Once familiar with a person’s unique mental signature, it was possible for Psi-Star to track them anywhere on Earth by performing a global psychic scan for their signature. The closer the target, the stronger their mental presence registered. Not limited to the mental realm, she also possessed the ability to harness her bio energy reserves for other feats such as flight, personal force-fields, and discharging destructive blasts from her fists. Her senses alerted her to the identity of her visitor before he announced himself, and she knew why he’d come.

            Zarbus, son of Alzeer, was a Hunter--an alien being from a distant galaxy. He was tasked by his world’s ruler, King Agrador, to come to Earth to safeguard the Guardian bloodlines and to aid them in their duty to defend the realms. It was the highest honor their king bestowed. Like the Shadowlings, Zarbus was a shape-shifter. He could assume the male form of any humanoid race in the universe. This enabled his people to blend into any society while hunting the Shadowlings.

            The Hunter posed as a tall, athletic, black-haired human male with blue eyes in the prime of his life. He was the Captain of the Castle Guard. He was Adam Pierce to those who were unaware of his true identity.

            “It’s time,” Zarbus informed her.

            “I’m aware,” she replied. “I sensed the prince’s birth both as a telepath and as a Guardian. The child is what Alchemist and I suspected.”

            “You mean he’s one of them?” Zarbus asked anxiously.

            “Yes,” said Ling. “I require an audience with the king and queen immediately. Time is of the essence.”

            “Of course,” said Zarbus.

           

Castle Matheson was an enormous stone structure, but it wasn’t cold and drafty as one may think. It was insulated and built with an advanced central heating system that allowed one to regulate the temperature year-round. The palace was a testament to the power and nobility of the royal family and the high regard in which the citizens held them. 

            “What’s troubling you, Mei?” Zarbus inquired as they walked the corridors.

            “It’s Alchemist,” Ling replied. “He’s found Invidia.”

            “Isn’t that a good thing?” said the Hunter. “That’s why he stayed behind.”

            Ling let out an exasperated sigh.

            “He’s chosen to engage her. I’m with him right now, mentally—protecting his mind—but the battle is fierce. He shouldn’t be fighting her alone.”

            “He’s doing his duty, Mei,” Zarbus replied. “If he’s chosen to fight, he obviously had reason to believe there wasn’t time to wait for reinforcements.”

            “He said as much, but I can’t help but worry,” she replied.

            They were approaching the lift now. 

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